Part shade or Full sun: 6 Types of Sunlight for Gardening

Every kind of plant has to be outside in the sun for a particular amount of time each day in order for it to be able to live and grow. When you buy trees, shrubs, floral annuals and perennials, houseplants, vegetable plants, or packets of seeds, the perfect amount of sunshine that each of these plant types needs to thrive will nearly always be stated on the label, tag, or seed packet.

Anyone who has ever worked with plants is likely already aware of the following words, which are used to define sunshine requirements:

What sunlight do you receive?

sunlight(part shade)

The most difficult part of selecting plants for your yard is going to be calculating the precise amount of sunshine that it gets. This is due to the fact that selecting plants based on the parameters listed on labels is a pretty simple process. This may prove to be more challenging than you first anticipated. 

The trend exists for gardeners, regardless of how skilled they are, to significantly overestimate the amount of light that a given region gets as well as the kind of sun that it is. The months of May through July in North America are ideal for measuring the quantity of sunshine available since deciduous trees have leafed out at this time and the sun is at a high angle in the sky.

Even while there are devices on the market that can monitor the amount of time spent in direct sunshine, utilizing such devices is not an exact science.

In locations where a rainless summer day often involves clouds that come and go during the day, it is possible that the readings obtained will be comparable to those obtained in regions where a rainless summer day entails a clear, cloudless sky from sunrise till night.

Taking simple observations of your planting area once every half an hour or so throughout the course of a week or two is the method that yields the most accurate results when calculating the average amount of solar exposure. 

Make use of those data to calculate the typical amount of time that the location is either exposed to full sunlight, dappled sunlight, or complete darkness. 

Once you have identified the typical quantity of sunshine that a region is exposed to, selecting plants that are suitable for the circumstances of the site and that are indicated on the plant labels is a simple and straightforward process.

Part shade or Partial shade

light and shadow, young and old

  • It is common practice to use the words part sun and partial shade interchangeably to refer to having between four and six hours of solar exposure on a daily basis, with the sun’s rays being strongest in the morning when it is colder. Nevertheless, there is a grammatical distinction:
  • If a plant is described as needing partial sun, more care must be taken to ensure that it receives at least the bare minimum of 4 to 6 hours of sunlight each day.
  • These plants are not as sensitive as sun lovers, which need the whole day’s worth of sunlight since they just need a few hours of direct sunlight to produce blooms and fruit.
  • If you want to discover the perfect location in your garden for plants that need just partial sunlight, you may need to do some experimenting.
  • If the plants that you’ve tucked into a garden that receives part sun aren’t blooming or growing as well as you would want, it’s generally because they require more direct sunlight.
  • If a plant is described as requiring partial shade, it means that the plant prefers to have some protection from the strong heat of the late afternoon sun.
  • Either planting where a neighboring tree will provide afternoon shade or planting on the east side of a building where the area is sheltered from the direct afternoon light is an easy way to accomplish your goal.
  • Both of these options will allow you to easily achieve your goal. Impatiens, Cassandra, the yesterday-today-and-tomorrow plant, and the majority of begonias are examples of plants that thrive in partial shade.

What is Full sun?


  • In order for a planting area to be classified as a full sun site, the area must, on the majority of days, get between 6 and 8 hours of direct sunlight, the majority of which must fall between the hours of ten in the morning and four in the afternoon.
  • Full sun is probably the most difficult level of exposure to obtain because many plants require full sun in order to set buds and flowers, but other plants are unable to resist the extreme heat and/or dry weather that often comes with that much sunlight. This makes full sun the level of exposure that is probably the most difficult to achieve.
  • These delicate plants may be protected against this by being planted in locations that get the most of their sunshine early in the morning or very late in the afternoon when the temperatures are likely to be lower. It is expected that the plants would flourish if they are exposed to at least 6 – 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Before deciding on a plant, it is important to conduct some research on the species to establish whether or not there are any restrictions on the amount of full sun it requires.
  • Those who are intolerant to heat will often come with a warning that it is necessary to find some protection from the direct sunlight in the middle of the day in areas that have a high average temperature.
  • There are also a great number of plants that can survive and even flourish in more sun than the recommended 6 to 8 hours each day. Once they are well established, they are capable of thriving in dry growing circumstances despite their name.
  • No matter what kind of plants you decide to grow in full sun, laying down a layer of mulch with a thickness of two to three inches can help you retain more soil moisture and keep the roots cooler.
  • By far the biggest type of plant that you will come across is the kind that thrives best in direct sunlight. The great majority of blooming perennials and annuals need full sun as long as their watering needs are satisfied. 
  • Even though certain vegetables and herbs, particularly green ones, may withstand some shadow, vegetable gardens should normally be situated in the sunniest area that can be found. This is because vegetable gardens thrive best in full sunlight.

Dappled Sunlight (Sunlight with Little Spots)

In Kinclaven

Although you won’t hear this word very often, it is possible that it will be used to describe the sunshine needs of a few plants. A phenomenon is known as “dappled sunlight” is equivalent to “partial shade,” and it occurs when sunlight penetrates the branches and leaves of deciduous trees.

Understory trees and shrubs, as well as understory plants like trillium and Solomon’s seal, as well as other woodland plants, like dappled sunshine.

It is important to keep in mind that the regions directly beneath trees get a much higher amount of sunshine in the early part of the spring in comparison to the late spring and early summer when the tree canopies are fully leafed out. One of the reasons why spring bulbs that love the sun may be planted effectively under trees is because of this.

It is important to keep an eye on the moisture needs of any plants you want to grow under a tree. This is because tree roots have the ability to absorb groundwater, while the roots of smaller plants are more likely to need more water in order to get established.

Full shade

It is not true that there is no sun when there is total shadow since very few plants, with the exception of mushrooms, can survive without any exposure to sunlight. 

Plants that are able to thrive with just four hours of direct sunshine, most of which occurs in the morning or late afternoon, or with a full day of dappled sunlight are considered to be plants that need complete shade. Astilbe, Hosta, and Heuchera, sometimes known as Coral Bells, are all examples of shade-loving plants.

Bright shade

Surfaces in the area of windows, lakes, ponds, and white walls, which often reflect light, get a bright shade of shade. It is possible for a wide variety of plants to thrive in this rather brilliant shade; nevertheless, it is important to pay close attention to the amount of light that is reflected at various times of the day and throughout the year.

Edge shade

You’ll find this particular kind of shadow at the edging of a deciduous forest, all the way around individual trees. The amount of light that the plants produce is plenty for development and blossoming, but there is also enough shade to prevent the plants from being damaged by the sun on very hot summer days.

Variety of sunshine exposures

When researching the optimal lighting conditions for a plant, you may come across phrases like “Full Sun to Partial Shade” or “Partial Shade to Full Shade.”

This suggests that the plant will thrive rather well in a variety of sunshine exposures, which allows you more choice in selecting where you may plant it and how much sunlight it will get.

Be aware, however, that the majority of these plants still have a favored sunlight need in order for them to flourish to their full potential.

In spite of the fact that the plant tags or seed packs could give the impression that a plant can thrive in any environment, conducting some further study on the species might show that the plant really thrives best in a certain sunlight exposure but can withstand other situations.

It is always advisable to perform your study in order to discover the details and the ideal growing conditions of any plant you are contemplating planting. This will ensure that you have the highest chance of success.

The health of your plants is ultimately the only thing that can serve as a reliable indicator. It is likely that the plant is not in the best location because the foliage has been scorched or burnt, or because the blooms are leggy and bending in the direction of the sunshine.

If you believe that the plants in your garden are not planted in the appropriate position, you should not be scared to dig them up and relocate them. The vast majority of species are amenable to being successfully transplanted. If you can, try to transfer it on an overcast day, and don’t forget to give it plenty of water in its new position until it’s well established.